Oats so good

Niall McKenna

IT'S a really busy time for food lovers and fine dining aficionados – try saying that quickly – with Belfast Restaurant Week in full swing and loads of events happening this weekend.

The shiny new Belfast Waterfront is the setting for BBC's Good Food Show, which runs until tomorrow with live cookery demos and interviews with many of your favourite TV chefs including Paul Hollywood, James Martin, John Torode and the Hairy Bikers.

Local restaurants are also well represented with yours truly, Danny Miller and Paul Rankin among the familiar faces who will be chatting about the industry, helpful hints and insider tips.

There will be loads going on, whether tasting sessions, book signings or shopping, so there will be plenty to keep you entertained and lots of fantastic local produce on display and to buy.

You can find all the information at

On that note, this week's recipes utilise the best of local ingredients and are really quick and easy dishes to cook.

For the fish pie you can use any good quality white fish and salmon, while the apple pie is not only really simple but relatively cheap.

Both dishes use rolled oats, which are a great ingredient to have in the cupboard even if you don't eat porridge. You can use them for flapjacks, muffins, pancakes if you have a sweeter tooth or any number of savoury dishes.

Fish Pie

100g butter

200g plain flour

450ml milk (semi-skimmed is OK)

400g mixed fish salmon, cod, haddock trimmings

150g frozen peas

150g cheddar cheese

30g rolled oats

fresh parsley, handful, chopped

salt and pepper

Start by preheating the oven to 200C. Place half of the butter in a large pot and melt on a gentle heat. You are going to make a roux/white sauce, so start by pouring in a 1/4 of the flour into the melted butter, mixing vigourously before adding the milk and stirring until you have a really smooth sauce.

I tend to do this with a whisk rather than a wooden spoon to make sure the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add in the mixed fish to the sauce and keep on a gentle heat for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add in the peas and a 1/3 of the cheese. Spoon into an oven proof dish.

For the topping, sieve the remaining flour into a large bowl and add the remaining butter and rub with the flour until it resembles crumbs. Add the oats and cheese and place over the top of the fish sauce. Place in the oven and cook for 35 minutes until it is browned and bubbling.

Garnish with the parsley on top.

Apple Crumble

550g cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced

3 tblsp water

50g caster sugar

1/2 tsp mixed spice

For the topping

150g rolled oats

80g plain flour

85g butter

115g brown sugar

Start by preheating the oven to 180C. Place the chopped apples into a large pot with the water, sugar and spice and place the lid on and sweat down on a simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the apples from the pot and place in an oven proof dish. In a large bowl add the oats and mix in the flour. Melt the butter and add to the dry mixture, mix well and add in the brown sugar and mix until dissolved. Pour this over the apples ensuring that it is all covered and place in the oven for 30 minutes until the topping is crisp and brown. Best served with custard or ice cream.


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